The Vigilante of Marett

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Can a kingdom be changed by a man in a mask?

Submitted: November 05, 2017

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Submitted: November 05, 2017

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WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE: The vigilante of Marett. Also commonly known as Shadowblade, Darksword, the Spear of Justice…

Alyvia tore her eyes away from the vigilante’s long list of aliases. Her attention had been grabbed by the wanted poster, but she knew she had to keep moving. Night was falling, and no one wanted to be out at night unless they had a death wish. She hoped that the crimson sky wasn’t a premonition of what was in store for her, but in the kingdom of Marett, one could never be sure.

She began to walk home, but her mind stayed on the poster. The vigilante had been the talk of the town ever since he had shown up two months earlier. He roamed the streets at night, cleaning up whatever mess the king and his men had left during the day. He had become a hero to the poor of the kingdom. King Asgoth, on the other hand, wanted nothing more than to see him dead.

As the first star appeared in the tiny kingdom’s sky, the streets began to come alive. Shadow-filled alleyways seemed to move. Twice Alyvia thought she saw something dash across the rooftops. Her footsteps grew hurried.

A man seemed to melt out of the shadows in front of her, grinning toothily and holding a knife in both of his overly large hands. Alyvia skidded to a halt, terror filling her mind. She tried to back away and ran straight into another man. He held her fast. She didn’t even bother struggling. There was no chance of escape.

“Hello, dearest,” the man in front said. His voice sounded much too proper for him to be an ordinary thief. She had heard rumors that the rich sometimes dressed as thieves at night and took advantage of the poor, but she hadn’t believed them until now. The man laughed and stepped towards her. She tried to back away, but the other man held her fast. Her heart pounding, she closed her eyes and prayed to whatever deity might be listening. She had never been religious but now seemed like a good time to start.

A sudden gasping noise caused her to open her eyes again. The first man had frozen in his tracks. At first, she couldn’t see what had stopped him. Then a flash of silver hit her eyes and she saw the tip of a spear protruding from the man’s chest. She barely had time to wonder what was happening before he crumpled to the ground and her savior was revealed.

It was him.

He looked just how everyone had described him. He was dressed in all black, no skin showing anywhere on his body except the smallest area around his eyes. He held a spear in his left hand. It was absolutely terrifying.

She took this in all in a matter of seconds. In the blink of an eye, he had darted behind her, pulled the man off her, and given him the same fate as his companion. The sight of his crimson-stained spear made her flinch, but he didn’t even bat an eye. Without looking at her, he spoke in a low, gruff voice. “You need to leave.”

She couldn’t bring herself to move. It still seemed unreal that the man whose wanted poster she had been reading only minutes earlier was standing in front of her now.

“You need to leave,” he repeated, his voice growing harsher. “There will be more of them.”

Her feet seemed to be stuck to the ground. She opened her mouth to say something, but couldn’t form the words. Her mouth felt like sandpaper.

A shadow darted across the rooftops above them. The vigilante’s head turned towards the movement. He swore under his breath. “They followed me,” he hissed. His dark eyes met her own again. “You need to leave,” he said for the final time.

She didn’t want to leave. She had never felt this way before. Something about him filled her with determination.

A group of the king’s guards leaped down from a rooftop, landing in front of them and blocking their path. He moved into an offensive stance, holding his spear at the ready. “Alyvia,” he said slowly. “Go.

The urgency in his voice was too much for her to keep disobeying him. As the royal guards raced to meet him, she turned and sprinted away towards home. Her heart burned in her chest, and she was unsure if she had made the right decision. Whatever the outcome would be, it was too late to change it now. The vigilante’s fate was in his own hands.

Only when she was in the safety of her home once again did she bother to wonder how he had known her name.

•••

They caught him.

Alyvia heard the news immediately the next morning. People were rushing past her in the direction of the town square. When she asked one of them what was happening, they told her. The vigilante had been captured and was about to be hanged for his crimes. Guilt burned her heart. I could have stayed. I could have helped him, or at least bought him time. But instead, she had chosen to run away like the coward she was.

But still, something seemed to draw her to the town square, even through her guilt. She had to be present during the vigilante’s last living moments. She had no idea why. It seemed like a sense of morbid fascination had arisen inside her. So she joined the crowd heading towards the place of the execution.

Pushing through the crowd of people, she saw the king standing on a platform elevated above the crowd. The vigilante stood next to him, his hands tied behind his back. She was slightly surprised to see him still wearing the same outfit he had on the night before, minus the spear. She had expected the king to humiliate him in any way possible, but the way he stood, surveying the crowd with his dark eyes, looked almost… comfortable. Next to him stood the gallows. The rope swung ominously in the wind.

The king cleared his throat, and the crowd instantly fell silent. “People of Marett,” he said, his deep voice carrying throughout the square, “behold: your hero.”

He gestured dramatically to the vigilante, whose eyes sparkled with something almost like amusement. He wasn’t fazed in the least, nor did he even seem to be aware that his death was literally minutes away. Alyvia wondered once again who he was. She had never met anyone like him.

The king continued his speech. “He is known to you by many names: Shadowblade, Darksword, the Spear of Justice, et cetera. But after today, he will only be known to you as deceased.”

“But first, let us learn his true name.” A wide grin split the king’s face. “Let us see who truly is the man behind the mask. Who knows? Some of you may be friends with him without even realizing it.”

Alyvia’s heart seemed to skip a beat. She had never thought of that possibility. Names of friends and acquaintances flew through her mind. Could he really be any of them? she pondered. The rest of the crowd seemed to be thinking the same thing. Uneasy murmurs pierced the silence.

The king stepped behind the vigilante and raised his hands to undo the mask. The crowd fell unnaturally silent. And in that moment, while all eyes were on him, the vigilante looked straight at Alyvia and did the most surprising thing she could have ever imagined.

He winked at her.

That wink seemed to communicate to her everything she wanted to know. In the split second before the king removed the mask, she realized that she already knew the truth. The lifting of the fabric would only be confirmation.

The crowd held its breath.


 

The king lifted the mask.



 


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